Sat, Oct

Govt hopes selection committee to start work soon


The Presidential Palace on Saturday said the selection committee, a proposed body to nominate members of the two electoral bodies, was yet to embark on its work due to the delayed introduction of representatives by civil society and the human rights commission.

At the end of August, the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) following discussions with different segments of society submitted its set of 10 suggestions regarding electoral reforms to the government. The president approved seven of the suggestions and tasked the panel to find ways for implementation of the other three suggestions.

Formation of the proposed seven-member selection committee is one of the ERC suggestions and the committee would be responsible to introduce fresh faces as members of the election bodies.

Sayed Zafar Hashemi, deputy spokesman for the president, told Pajhwok Afghan News four organs --- the Supreme Court, the Administrative Reform Commission, the Oversight Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and the women’s rights organisations --- have introduced their representatives to the committee.

He said discussions were ongoing with media and civil society groups and hoped they would introduce their representatives soon so that the committee could start its work.

The selection committee would evaluate applications for membership of the electoral bodies and at the end would introduce 21 candidates for the membership of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and 15 other candidates for membership of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) to the president.

Out of these candidates, the president would select seven members for the IEC and five members for the IECC. The incumbent IEC and IECC members maintain their removal would be against the law.

Shahla Farid, Kabul University professor, said weak management of election panels’ members caused election deadlocks and all the members were part of this weak management. She suggested they should be sacked and new members introduced.

“There are individuals in the election commissions who know nothing about elections,” she told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Naeem Ayubzada, Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) head, said the formation of ERC has raised hopes regarding restoring people’s trust over the election process. “If the activities of ERC are ignored, no elections would be held.”